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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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June 20, 2008 12:17 PM

Microsoft head count way up in last 11 months, nearing 90,000

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is now a company of close to 90,000 people and may, in fact, surpass that number by the time the fiscal year ends June 30.

At the end of May, Microsoft counted 89,809 employees, compared with 78,565 at June 30, 2007, the end of its fiscal year, a company spokesman confirmed this morning. That's an increase of 14.3 percent, about 1,000 people a month so far this year.

Acquisitions have swelled the company's ranks. The biggest buy, Seattle-based digital advertising company aQuantive, added 2,600 -- including 650 locally -- when the deal closed last August. But Microsoft is also hiring individuals at a fast clip as it stretches further into online services and advertising.

For the second year in a row, the local Microsoft employment growth rate appears to have lagged the total, worldwide rate -- another sign of the company's global footprint and focus on emerging markets. The company had nearly 38,860 Puget Sound employees at the end of May, up 9 percent since last June.

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner last summer stated his intention to have teams in place in new markets before the company really pushed down on the business accelerator there. The company does business in more than 100 companies and 60 percent of its sales now come from outside of the United States.

There's no sign that hiring growth in general is slowing. In fact, as Yahoo hemorrhages employees, Microsoft is doing its best to scoop them up with help wanted ads like the one it ran in Silicon Valley earlier this week. The company has more than 2,000 employees there.

Tip of the hat to Todd Bishop of the Seattle P-I, who beat me to these figures this year.

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